The Walking Dead: Final Season Episode 3

We learned back in September that Telltale Games was going bankrupt. This meant that despite the first two episodes of The Walking Dead’s Final Season were out and playable, the game would not be finished. Thankfully, Skybound — a company founded by the creator of the series –decided to go ahead and make a games division specifically to finish off the series (and I assume, create other gaming experiences). This was good news for fans like me, who just wanted to see the end of Clementine’s story, a story that started way back in 2012 with the first season of the game series. I’ve talked about my experiences with the first two episodes already, but I recently completed the third and thought I would jot down some notes to chronicle this.

As with the rest of the series, we’re not seeing anything new here, just more of the same interactive story game that we’ve all become accustomed to. The Walking Dead is one of my favorite pieces of media. I’ve always enjoyed a good zombie horror story, but what I’ve always appreciated about the comics, the TV series, and this game series is that there is less of a focus on the dead, and more of a focus on the human struggle of living in this post apocalyptic world. The human element and emotions that have been stirred within me while consuming this media is second to none. I haven’t nearly shed tears with any other medium.

Clementine has grown into a capable young woman. She is no longer the child that Lee protected from the world, and instead is the protector of AJ — a child she has watched over for years. Now in Lee’s shoes, she even has dreams where she is able to commune with him for guidance, and his pride shows despite merely being a figment of her subconscious. It’s touching to see his reactions to her all grown up, compared to the child he once knew. He (I) did a good job in raising her, and now it’s her (my) turn to raise AJ. This has been tricky, due to the sheer amount of shit that is thrown our way, but I have done my best not to turn him into a little psycho.

As the last episode closed, raiders had taken members of our group, and the children at the school were shaken to say the least. I met a mysterious boy named James who is a “whisperer,” in that he is able to walk among the dead without alerting them to his presence. He reveals more of himself and his past in this episode, and I grew to like him despite his odd lifestyle choice. As the appointed leader of the school group, this episode focused on the plan to rescue our friends, and making preparations to do so. Without spoiling too much, it turns out that our friends are being held on a boat by the raiders, and Lilly seems to be the expedition leader. Despite letting me go earlier in the season, she is not willing to let us get our friends back. A plan is hatched and the attack on the boat happens and seems to do so without any issue until one of their soldiers (who used to be a member of the school group) spoils things. This leads to a confrontation with Lilly and ultimately, the death of another person. I simply wanted AJ to show some mercy, but Lilly wasn’t going down that road.

James got caught up in our struggle, and though I think he probably would have been a great addition to the group, unfortunately Lilly showed no mercy. However, the episode ended with a bomb that we had put into the boiler going off, and we really don’t know what’s happened to anyone. We can assume that the three characters we came to rescue made it off of the boat, but as I was trying to save AJ, Tenn was also involved and James was killed. The bomb went off and threw Clem into a wall, so we can assume she lives, along with the others, but it will likely take some time to gather everyone back up. My ending results showed that most of the other characters were MIA, along with some base stats like usual:

It seems that my choices were mostly in-line with other players this time around, but I don’t like the fact that we don’t really know where anyone else is. I guess that’s why there are typically cliffhanger endings between episodes, so we’ll be kept guessing until the next comes out. I know that I’m looking forward to the finale and the closure of the story, I just hope Clem doesn’t end up like Lee. But I supposed anything is possible. They haven’t said exactly when the next episode will come out, but I assume it will be released within the next couple of months. I’ll report back once I’ve completed it.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season (Episode 1)

I knew it was coming, but it surprised me to find out that the last season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead was upon us. I guess I never really paid attention to the release date. I hurriedly picked up my copy of episode one of this four episode final season, and played through it ASAP. We’re seeing Clementine’s journey come to an end, and there was a beautifully rendered introduction that allowed us to relive key parts of that journey. It’s been four separate games and a number of years since this adventure began, and though I am sad to see it beginning to come to a close, it will be interesting to see where this little girl turned fierce woman ends up. Picking up where The New Frontier left off, Clementine had been reunited with AJ once again and were back on the road. Our story follows them scavenge for food when of course they come across trouble. They end up in a school run by kids and find a rather tight knit group — though something doesn’t seem quite right.

The graphical engine is a bit more refined than I remember in the last season, but for the most part the game plays the same as others. I felt like there were more action oriented combat sections, but there were plenty of slow dialogue-filled scenes as well. I won’t completely spoil things but the results of my season will. You should probably avoid the next screens and my reasoning to follow if you haven’t played this game yet.

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The major choices in this episode were varied. I chose to kill the couple in the train station to get the key off of one of them (they were both walkers at this point, when they were still people they poisoned themselves). Otherwise I could have chosen to send AJ into the room behind the locked door, but I didn’t want to send him on his own. I was with the majority of players on this. I didn’t go with the crowd on the next choice, which was whether to hunt with Aasim or Louis. Louis seemed to try to hard to throw himself at Clem so I went the other way. During our first night at the school AJ insisted that he sleep under the bed. I told him he didn’t have to but he begged so I let him. Looks like most people convinced him to try the bed (side note, he sleeps in bed on the second night). Later, we go back to the same train station where shit went awry the first time around, and Clem is confronted by a raider who wants the same food we had come for. I chose to push his ass out the window for walkers to feed on. Fuck that guy. Lastly, during the final confrontation with Marlon, I chose to petition Violet to help me out, and she came to my aid. AJ took matters into his own hands, though.

This season was different from all of those that came before in that there were some missable trophies and I didn’t realize that until I completed the chapter. There are a few collectable items, and certain dialogue choices that lead to trophies that I missed. As disappointing as it would be to have all the Platinum trophies for this series and miss out on this one, I’m not sure I want to go back and play through to find them all. I suppose if I do I will do so before the next episode releases so that I can be more mindful of this the rest of the way through. Either way I enjoyed the episode and The Walking Dead is still my favorite of Telltale’s series. Let me know if how your episode ended up, if you’ve played.

The Council: Episode 2

The second episode of The Council released last Tuesday, and I managed to complete it over the weekend. Fair warning, there will be some spoilers in this post, so if you’re playing the game you might want to see things through before reading on.

Similar to the first episode, you’ll run around as Mr. De Richet still looking for clues as to your mother’s whereabouts, and performing various tasks in the interim. During the course of this episode however, some bad things are afoot, and your detective skills will come into play. We finally meet the owner of the island manor, and the final guest (the leader of Spain) arrives. One of the women you met in the first episode is brutally murdered, and what appears to be some sort of pagan or satanic ritual has transpired. You are charged with finding out who killed her, and at one point are able to give your opinion as to who might have done it. I threw one guy under the bus, only to need his help in getting out of a locked room later on. Further clues seem to point towards your mother’s involvement with thing going on around the island.

The gameplay is identical to the first episode, though my play through featured less confrontations during dialogue. Most of my time was spent examining the crime scene, questioning guests, and exploring the manor, including a portion of the exterior (garden) all the while picking up consumables and books to earn skill points, along with solving a number of different puzzles. At the very end of the episode, I had just opened an underground passage leading under the garden hedge maze, where I found the body of one of the manor’s servants. A cliffhanger ending, we’ll have to wait a while to see what happens next. Here were my results from the three quests in the episode:

Overall I still really enjoy this game. It’s a little slow paced, but it is engaging in a way that most games aren’t these days. I look forward to the next episode!

The Council: Episode 1

I didn’t hear about The Council while it was in development. I didn’t even know it had released, but spotted it on the Playstation Store recently, and was intrigued by this lead photo. Clearly there are some historically impactful people in that picture, and I was interested to see what it had to offer. The description of the game led me to believe that it was a “choices matter” style of narrative adventure, and this is what you can expect. You could point to similarities between this title and the variety of Telltale Games’ well-known series, but honestly it’s more akin to Monkey Island than any of their recent titles. Still, it can be said that if you enjoy Telltale’s narrative style you will probably enjoy this game and  your choices do matter. However there is a bit of depth added to this game that wasn’t present in many of TTG’s. First of all, you’re given the ability to choose a class:

I rolled with becoming an Occultist because it sounds rad, and honestly it doesn’t really matter which one you choose due to the fact that your gameplay (choices) can open up the other options. Furthermore, you’re presented with a set of skills based on your class, all that will start at level 1. You can further level these skills using points granted to you as you gain experience. Different actions you take within the game accrue this experience, and it is given to you when you complete “quests.” These are quests as you would think of them in the RPG sense, because you are only walking around from room to room scavenging for clues and having the periodic conversation with the other characters. But things are tallied up at the end of these quests and you’ll gain more points to acquire more skills. Some can be later unlocked by reading books and performing actions so then you can put your leveling points into those as well to open further actions and dialogue options. The game will point out when you lack a certain skill and you’ll know that you’ve missed a certain path that could have been taken if you had it.

There are parts that require your attention, such as puzzles and conversational battles of wits. Confrontations only allow you to make so many mistakes, and your dialogue options will change as your skills do. You have an effort bar that will be used to perform certain actions or use dialogue options that pertain to skills and there are consumables to refill this bar (and remove negative conversational effects). I guess this is starting to feel more like an RPG after all! Opportunities are more like the QTE’s you’d be familiar with from Telltale games. They do help you on your way though so you should be paying attention while you play this game.

At the end of your missions, aside from gaining XP and being able to spend your points, you’ll also get a breakdown of ways you succeeded and ways that you failed during that quest. Alternative pathways are also presented, presuming you’d want to play through another time. I was halfway tempted once I saw the trophy list, as many of the achievements will require additional playthroughs, but I believe I’ll wait until I’ve played through the additional episodes. It’s an intriguing political romp, where you’re rubbing elbows with the people who rule the world in their day and age. I won’t spoil anything as this is a fairly new title, but it was very enjoyable and I look forward to more! It’s unclear at this point as to when episode 2 will release, but if we typically expect episodic content at a fairly rapid clip I expect you’ll hear more about it from me within a couple of months. The Council is also available on Steam.

The Enemy Within – Episode 5

Another season of Telltale’s Batman series has come to a close. This series has been full of twists and turns and it was surprising to see how it ended. In all honesty, it was left as a cliffhanger ending (at least with my choices made) and it’s pretty clear that it was left open for a third season. There haven’t been many of the Telltale series that have made it that far though, so we shall see but the way it was written I imagine we’ll see more of Batman in the future. Here’s how things shook up with my relationships by the end of episode 5:

I like the amount of detail that was put into these choices and how they affected your relationship with people. Seeing the “your relationship with so and so has changed” really makes you think twice about the decisions you made throughout the season. If I was so inclined I could play through it again making different selections and I’m sure these relationships would have ended up differently, but surprisingly I made similar choices to most people, percentage wise. The big part of the story here was how your relationship with John Doe turned him towards being a vigilante, but of course being the mentally-unstable Joker means that he can’t be bothered with Batman’s “code.” As such, he still turns out to be a villain, particularly because he’s going after the Agency rather than real criminals. There are bits where it points to the Agency being no better than the bad guys though, so I had trouble walking the line between being John’s friend and doing what’s right. It was neat to see Joker-rangs and his silly grappling hook and other devices. What shocked me most was seeing Alfred leave at the end… and not really having any closure on the Joker front. Regardless, it was a great series and I look forward to more.

There were more tracked choices in this episode again which was warranted. A bunch of things happened that affected relationships and the story in this episode. The only one I’m really not happy with is the first, only because there was a timed response needed and I think I was distracted at that moment so I “hesitated” during the attack. I would have chosen to help the clown over the agent, only because he seemed like a scumbag anyway. Tiffany became a nightwing-esque character and that was interesting. As I said, I stood up for John when I could, and that pissed off Waller though we made our peace before the end of the line. I suppose I could have chosen to give up being Batman and maybe Alfred would have stayed, but how do you give up being Batman?! I defeated Joker and he ended up back in Arkham, but we all know he won’t stay there.

All in all it was a great series and I look forward to more!